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"Annie, sister Annie, do you see any one coming down the road?" cried the wife again.
"No, I see nothing but the golden dust."
Then Bluebeard called out, "Come down quickly now, or I will come up to you."
"One minute more," replied his wife; and then she called softly, "Annie, sister Annie, do you see any one coming?"
"I think I see a cloud of dust a little to the left."
"Do you think it is my brothers?" said the wife.
"Alas, no, dear sister, it is only a shepherd boy with his sheep."
"Will you come down now, madam, or shall I fetch you?" Bluebeard bawled out.
"I am coming,—indeed I will come in just a minute."
Then she called out for the last time, "Annie, sister Annie, do you see any one coming?"
"I see," replied her sister, "two horsemen coming, but they are still a great way off."
"Thank God," cried the wife, "it is my brothers. Urge them to make haste." Annie replied, "I am beckoning to them. They have seen my signals. They are galloping towards us."
Now Bluebeard called out so loudly for his wife to come down that his voice shook the whole house. His lady, not daring to keep him waiting any longer, hurried down the stairs, her hair streaming about her shoulders and her face bathed in tears. She threw herself on the floor at his feet and begged for mercy.
"There is no use in your pleading," said Bluebeard; "vou must certainly die."
Then, seizing her by the hair with his left hand, he raised his scimitar, preparing to strike off her head. The poor woman turned her eyes upon him and begged for a single moment to collect her thoughts. "No," he said; "not a moment more. Commend yourself to God."
He raised his arm to strike. Just at that moment there was a loud knocking at the gate, and Bluebeard stopped short in his bloody work. Two officers in uniform sprang into the castle and ran upon Bluebeard with drawn swords. The cruel man, seeing they were his wife's brothers, tried to escape, but they followed and overtook him before he had gone twenty steps. Though he begged for mercy they listened not to a single word, but thrust him through and through with their swords.
The poor wife, who was almost as dead as her lord, could hardly rise to greet her brothers, but when she learned of Bluebeard's death she quickly recovered and embraced them heartily.
Bluebeard, it was found, had no heirs, and so all his riches came into the possession of his wife. She was filled with thankfulness at her rescue, and in repentance for her curiosity she gave her sister a generous portion of her money, and established her brothers in high positions in the army.
As for herself, she afterwards married a worthy gentleman and lived happily to a hale old age. The beautiful town and country houses were constantly filled with guests, who, after they had convinced themselves that the cruel master was actually dead, made the rooms ring with their joyous laughter and talking.
COME hither, little restless one,
See, one by one they show their light—
Just like the fireflies in the night,
You do not hear the robins sing—
And sheltered by their mother's wing,
The dog, he will not frolic now,
But to his kennel creeps;
And e'en the kitten sleeps.
The very violets in their bed
Fold up their eyelids blue, And you, my flower, must droop your head
And close your eyelids, too.
Then join your little hands and pray
To God, who made the light, To keep you holy all the day
And guard you through the night.
By Jakob And Wilhelm Grimm
HERE was once upon a time a poor miller who had a beautiful daughter. It happened one day that he had an audience with the King, and in order to appear important he told the King
W']$> tna* ne ^cl a daughter who could spin straw into gold.
"Now that's a talent worth having," said the King to the miller; "if your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to my palace tomorrow, and I'll test her."
When the girl was brought to him, he led her into a room full of straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and spindle, and said, "Now set to work and spin all night, and if by early dawn you haven't spun the straw into gold you shall die." Then he closed the door behind him and left her alone inside.
So the poor miller's daughter sat down. She hadn't the least idea of how to spin straw into gold, and at last she began to cry. Suddenly the door opened, and in stepped a tiny little man who said: "Good evening, Miss Miller-maid; why are you crying so bitterly?"
"Oh!" answered the girl, "I have to spin straw into gold, and haven't the slightest notion how it's done." "What will you give me if I spin it for you?" asked the manikin.
"My necklace," replied the girl.
The little man took the necklace, sat down at the wheel, and whir, whir, whir, round it went until morning, when all the straw was spun away, and all the bobbins were full of gold.
As soon as the sun rose, the King came, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and delighted, but he wanted more of the precious metal. He had the miller's daughter put into another room, much bigger than the first and full of straw, and bade her, if she valued her life, spin it all into gold before morning.
When the girl began to cry the tiny little man appeared again and said: "What'll you give me if I spin the straw into gold for you?"